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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Sitting on the past

Friday, January 21, 2011

Mary Ann and Edward Meyer sit on two of the chairs they lent to the Putnam County Museum. The chairs were prepared by Larry Leer and painted by Joyce Leer. [Order this photo]
Scenes of Greencastle's past adorn tables, chairs and birdhouses in an exhibit currently at the Putnam County Museum.

The exhibit features works done by Joyce and Larry Leer.

Joyce Leer said the pieces were good conversations pieces for people talking about what she called the good old days.

"We were born and grew up here and there are so many businesses that went out of business since then," Joyce Leer said. "They're good memories and it's a good way to hold on to them."

Tanis Monday, the museum's director, said the couple lived in Greencastle before leaving in the 80s.

"They came back in 1994 and realized that a lot had changed," Monday said. "They wanted to commemorate the Greencastle of the past."

Monday said Larry Leer built the birdhouses and prepared the furniture, while Joyce Leer did all the painting.

"She would paint whimsical scenes with a little bits of history and also take personal requests," Monday said. "She would tell the story of a person's family, where mom and dad worked, where they met and where they went on dates.

Edward and Mary Ann Meyer loaned the pieces to the museum. Mary Ann Meyer said the Leers kept painting the furniture from their return in 1994 until retiring in 2009.

"I came here as a freshman at DePauw and it's different now," Mary Ann Meyer said. "I went to the Berry Street Festival and Joyce had a display. -- she always used to have the best displays. I saw all the old things of Greencastle and it brought back the memory from when I was here in school."

Edward Meyer said they are so fond of Leer's work that they have 12 other pieces at their home apart from what was used for the exhibit.

While talking about a table they had commissioned, Edward Meyer said Joyce Leer didn't often like to do requests.

"She didn't like to do them because she said people would complain," Edward Meyer said. "We said that we would be happy with whatever you make for us."

Joyce Leer said she really enjoyed doing the furniture paintings.

"It was fun to do them," Joyce Leer said. "It was good to remember downtown, my downtown, whether it was accurate or not."

The exhibit runs until February 18.

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